Swiss Style typography is known for three main principles: cleanliness, legibility, and neutrality. As an extension of the beloved style, Piëch Sans was crafted to be a “digital-first interpretation” of the Swiss Style.
Designed by ShopTalk, the letterforms are based primarily on the circular shape and form, understanding that the openness of the profile creates emotive curves and a legible type style. Furthermore, there are nine weights, making for a dynamic font family and one that can be used in many designs.
And because the typeface was created for Piëch, an electric car manufacturer based in Zürich, Switzerland, it makes sense that it was designed and constructed with as much attention to detail as when designing, prototyping, and manufacturing a car.
The design of the typeface references Swiss Style (also known as the International Typographic Style) which emerged in Europe during the 1950s and came to define the mid-century Modernist graphic design of the era. Well-known Swiss Style typefaces include Akzidenz-Grotesk, Helvetica and Univers.
Piëch Sans is described as a “digital-first interpretation” of traditional Swiss Style font design, aligning with Piëch’s overarching union of timeless craft and tradition with future-facing tech-led innovations.
The geometric letterforms are largely based on circles, taken from the dieresis (the dots from the logomark) which forms part of the hero brand identity, as well as borrowing from dynamic curves found on the Piëch car itself – such as a ‘j’ that references the cars’ lights.
Piëch Sans has been designed in nine weights: Thin, Ultralight, Light, Book, Regular, Medium, Semibold, Bold and Superbold. The typeface currently comprises a total of 562 glyphs and spans 94 different languages.
The typeface includes a wide range of alternates that serve to emphasise the font concept; echo the Piëch car forms; and underscore the dynamism and modernity of the brand. Among these features are a number of alternates for numbers, including a geometric version inspired by the digits found on vintage racing cars imbuing the sporting heritage Piëch aim to capture with their car design.
The bespoke typography forms the foundation of the wider Piëch visual identity & strategy, expressing the essence of the brand by enabling simple, beautiful craft-led communications, always building on their iconic European sports car heritage. It’s a radical departure from the usual clichés and conventions of ‘classic’ car advertising.
“Piëch looked at every single design detail when crafting the car and typography was an opportunity for us to apply that same level of attention to detail,” says ShopTalk. “Typography is a hugely important communication brand tool, but is equally as important in the experience of driving the car, through elements such as the dashboard welcome screen and UI. Working with such a talented type designer as Robin meant that we were able to build on the other skilled designers and makers that have contributed in all areas of the car design process.”
Piëch Sans is one element within the wider branding that ShopTalk has created for Piëch, which will roll-out fully when the car becomes available for public purchase in 2024.